independent

Thursday 19 July 2018

Public meeting on marine spatial planning

Those with an interest in the sea are encouraged to attend a public meeting on marine spatial planning (MSP) next week.

The meeting is being organised by the Marine Planning Section at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and will take place in the Grand Hotel, Wicklow town, at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 9.

Marine planning is a new way of looking at how the country uses its marine area and planning how best to use it into the future. MSP will try to balance the different demands on the sea - including from the energy, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism and sporting industries - while promoting the sustainable development of a thriving ocean economy.

Although a relatively new concept for Ireland, marine planning has been in place in other European countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Scotland for a number of years now and, as part of its EU membership, Ireland must produce a marine plan by March 2021. The task of developing this sits with the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government.

Monday's meeting will allow people to find out more about the planning process and how they can get involved. There is a heavy emphasis on stakeholder engagement and public consultation in the process and marine users are urged to come along and shape the sort of plan they want to help realise the maximum potential of marine resources.

The plan will not replace existing licensing or consent mechanisms but it is intended to become the main decision-making tool for regulatory authorities and policy-makers into the future.

An MSP advisory group, chaired by Minister Damien English, has been established so that all key marine stakeholders from the social, environmental and economic pillars as well as from industry can help shape the plan. However, it is important that individuals and smaller local groups make their voices heard and the meeting on Monday will provide information on how to do that.

For more information or to be added to the MSP mailing list, email msp@housing.gov.ie

Wicklow People

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